For years, one of the main grievances among Twitter users has been the ability for anonymous trolls to send abusive comments to other people on the service.Yiannopoulos isn't anonymous, so I begin puzzled. And "troll" and "abusive" are vague, abstract words. The next sentence is:
But on Tuesday, Twitter barred one of the most egregious and consistent offenders of its terms of service, Milo Yiannopoulos, in an attempt to show that it is cracking down on abuse.So I'm thinking I'll want to know, specifically, what terms of service Yiannopoulos is thought to have violated and what were his "egregious" and "consistent" violations. Also, Twitter seems to be accused of using Yiannopoulos for show. Has he been singled out because of his visibility or because the people he's bothered are the ones Twitter wants to cause to think it's really doing something?
The ban against Mr. Yiannopoulos, a technology editor at the conservative news site Breitbart and known by his Twitter handle, @Nero, follows a campaign of prolonged abuse against Leslie Jones, a comedian and co-star of the recently released “Ghostbusters” movie..... Hundreds of anonymous Twitter commenters hurled racist and sexist remarks at the star’s Twitter account, rallied and directed by Mr. Yiannopoulos this week. The news media picked up on the abuse after Ms. Jones began retweeting screenshots of the litany of comments sent to her over the past few days.I need to go to the linked article to see what kind of "abuse" has been aimed at Jones — not by Yiannaopoulos but by people he "rallied and directed" (whatever that means). You've got a gigantic Hollywood movie, which seems to me to be a big, ripe, deserving target for criticism, mockery, and — yeah — abuse. Of course we should savage this crap! Who is this movie star that her dramatic sensitivity and walking off in a huff should mean a damned thing to any sensible citizen?
Okay. Now, I've read the linked article about the "campaign of prolonged abuse," and I fail to see what's special about Jones as opposed to thousands of other actors, musicians, and politicians that little people say mean things about all the time. And I really don't know why the banning extended to Yiannopoulos.
Twitter did not comment directly on Mr. Yiannopoulos’s account or actions of the past 48 hours, but the spokesman said over that period, “We’ve seen an uptick in the number of accounts violating these policies and have taken enforcement actions against these accounts, ranging from warnings that also require the deletion of tweets violating our policies to permanent suspension.”Now, I've read the whole NYT article and I never found out what terms of service Yiannopoulos supposedly violated or what his "egregious" and "consistent" violations were or how he "rallied" and "directed" other Twitter users and I'm just left with my original suspicion that he was singled out because he was a high-profile antagonist to the people Twitter has decided to comfort and protect and because Jones was high-profile and dramatized great offense taken.
Could someone just quote the Yiannopoulos tweets in question? Does Twitter mean to say that if one user expresses hate for a particular celebrity, he'll be held responsible for the way other users express hate for that celebrity? That's not a workable policy. Think of all the big-time Twitter users who express hate for Donald Trump and the lesser users who come out with obscenities and true threats? Twitter wouldn't kick them all out.